UK nationals’ residence status following Brexit

 

In view of the UK’s withdrawal ( Brexit ) from the EU, UK nationals and their family members residing in Malta shall continue to do so on the conditions provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement and national legislation.

In this regard, the Government of Malta has published a legal notice which regulates UK nationals’ residence status following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

UK nationals, who will be residing in Malta on the basis of their Treaty rights as EU nationals prior to or on the last day of the transition period, will be entitled to continue to reside in Malta and move freely in and out of the country, as well as other associated rights, as specified in the Agreement. The said rights also extend to family members, who fall under the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, family members, other than children, will only be covered by the provisions of this Agreement if their relationship would have commenced before the end of the transition period.

UK nationals settling in Malta during the transition period (between 1st February 2020 and 31st December 2020, unless the UK and EU agree to extend this period) may apply for their new residence status after three (3) months of their arrival in Malta and before 30th June 2021.

UK nationals and their family members who were not residing in Malta prior to the withdrawal date but will be arriving in the country by 31st December 2020 will also benefit from the rights provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Applicants who have the right to commence residence after 31st December 2020 must submit their application either within three (3) months of their arrival in Malta or before 30th June 2021, whichever is later.

Identity Malta will be reaching out to all potential beneficiaries who have a valid residence document. The application process to change one’s status will be staggered and there will be no processing fees when applying for the new document. Applicants will be required to personally submit their application by calling at Identity Malta’s Expatriates Unit in Valley Road, Msida on the dates indicated in the letter they will be receiving. Applicants residing in Gozo would need to apply at the e-Residence Unit, St. Francis Square, Victoria, Gozo.

In this regard, a residence document valid for a period of 10 years will be issued to the said beneficiaries and will be automatically renewed on application, provided that the relative conditions remain satisfied.

The existing document shall continue to remain valid until the new residence document is issued.

UK nationals and their family members arriving in Malta during the transition period may set an appointment by email on brexit.ima@gov.mt and subsequently submit their application in person at the Expatriates Unit EU Section, Valley Road, Msida, Floor 2. (Source: Identity Malta 31.01.2020)

Correction in property prices expected to continue post-pandemic

A survey on the Maltese property market during Covid-19 shows that most people believe it will take over a year for the Maltese economy to recover and property prices will be affected.

Increased affordability is what property buyers and renters have to look forward to in the coming months, according to a new survey released by Belair Property together with Anchovy/Onest Data.

The survey was conducted between the 24th April and 5th May 2020, and it reveals insight into current and future perceptions of Maltese property in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With over 1,000 respondents, including property owners, tenants, landlords and banks across Malta and Gozo, the survey presents views from a cross-section of the Maltese general public. The hope is that the survey’s powerful revelations can be used to take informed decisions in the property market in the months to come.

“This survey clearly shows a general – and justified – perception that especially in certain segments, the real estate market was overheated pre-Covid,” explains Ian Casolani, Managing Director of Belair Property, “The market needed to be more realistic, and we were in fact already seeing price corrections before the pandemic hit. What we’ll see now is the market continuing to settle.

 

 

“In certain sectors, property prices will continue to level out and become more affordable. An optimistic view would be that Covid-19 is correcting property prices, bringing them closer to a property’s real value. At the end of the day, the price of the property is what people are prepared to pay for it. This is why, when investing, we say it is all about ‘location, location, location’, because in top locations there is always healthy demand vs supply. As a result, these properties tend to keep their value, even when the rest are levelling out or, in some areas, dropping.”

With almost half of the survey’s respondents showing scepticism about the Maltese economy recovering in less than a year, this kind of affordability is at the forefront of strategic investment decisions in property. For example, the survey shows that a large portion (over 50 percent) of respondents would need to see a price drop of between 15 percent and 30 percent to be tempted to buy property, and 74 percent of landlords fear for the future of the rental market in Malta.

 

 

“Malta’s rate of recovery is evidently a debatable point, but it’s clear that people don’t expect it to be quick,” Casolani continues, “Due to redundancies in the service industries, many foreign workers left Malta during the pandemic, leaving rental properties empty. This has severely impacted the rental market. In addition, some landlords have generously reduced rents to help tenants through the crisis, and they’re keeping rents low to attract new tenants.

“The survey shows, however, that other landlords are willing to wait out this period of uncertainty rather than reduce their asking price, even though they believe that reducing their asking price would increase their rate of rental. All in all, I believe that as long as the Government takes the hard – but crucial – decisions needed to restore Malta’s credibility on all fronts, the coming year will be a good time for expats to return to the island. We’ll then see the levels of property rentals return to what we’re used to.”

 

 

The role played by banks in the property market has been a hot topic over recent months. The survey reveals that 68 percent of respondents feel their bank has not supported them enough during the crisis, and 43 percent believe banks should establish a Covid-19 credit policy.

“Banks have been helpful from the start of the pandemic by, for example, launching beneficial measures regarding mortgage repayments,” explains Edward Grech, a former banker and consultant, “However, given the responses to the survey, the message may not have come across to the general public. This may be because banks have been reluctant to reduce fees and interest further because, after all, that is a bank’s primary source of income.

“During the Covid-19 period, people have sought less help from banks. For example, requests for home loans have dropped by about 40 percent. The government’s incentives for first-time buyers and buyers for investment and rental purposes will likely see this downward trend reversed. But there remains a lot of uncertainty, as we can see from the survey’s results. That said, barring a second wave of the pandemic, I think we can expect people to return to work, foreign workers to come back to Malta, and the lettings market to start looking up.”

For a copy of the results from the ‘Maltese Property Market During Covid-19’ survey, click here or on tel. no: 2011 8000 for more information.

                            

Visit Malta – Summer 2020

Reopening of Malta’s Airport

 

Malta - No Quarantine Required

 


 

Malta International Airport reopened on July 1, 2020 and commercial flights to and from Malta resumed from that date.

Passengers arriving from the following countries do not have to do any quarantine and do not require any special permits:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Rwanda
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City

Any person coming from any other country and has not spent at least 14 days in one of the safe countries listed above needs a special permit from the Health Authorities before travelling to Malta and may be obliged to do quarantine in Malta if accepted by the Health Authorities.

The list of approved safe destinations is monitored regularly and may be reviewed if necessary.

Why Malta?

1. A welcoming visit to Malta

The Maltese are renowned for their hospitality, friendliness and generosity. The people are traditionally kind-hearted and usually go out of their way to make guests feel at home. The majority of people are very accommodating, and are very willing to lend a helping hand, should you need directions or require assistance of any kind.

This characteristic is deep-rooted in Maltese culture and makes for a very warm and welcoming experience. Apart from personal experience, it’s something I hear those who travelled to Malta mention on a regular basis.

Find out more here…

 


FLIGHT SCHEDULES
Click herefor information about arrivals and departures to and from Malta International Airport.

 


TRAVELLING SAFELY
In preparation for the resumption of commercial flights starting July 1st 2020, Malta International Airport has implemented various measures in order to maintain a safe environment for passengers and employees. For details https://www.maltairport.com/covid19/

 

Belair Property

Reduced interest rates for first time buyers or second time buyers

Bank of Valletta is offering low interest rates for first-time and second-time buyers seeking to invest in property this summer.

 

The Bank’s home loan summer offers aim to help improve the affordability of properties, in the wake of COVID-19, BOV said in a statement

“Consumers seeking finance for their first or second home, or completion of their residential property, can benefit from very low interest rates and attractive loan terms,” said Marisa Said, Head Consumer Finance at Bank of Valletta, adding that these rates are “possibly” the lowest rate on the market.

“The property market is going through a consolidation process with indicators of a price correction taking place. Reduced property transfer tax and stamp duties as part of the Government’s Economic Regeneration Plan in relation to COVID-19, and more realistic property prices coupled with the lowest ever bank interest rates, have widened the door for first time buyers and those who may over the years had been sporadically thinking about purchasing their second property. These current times could very well present that lucrative opportunity for prospective buyers.”

To this end, BOV’s key home loan products have been revised “to meet changing consumer behaviour and needs” and to increase “affordability for home seekers to transition into home-owners,” Ms Said added.

For more information, interested parties are being invited to set up an appointment with a BOV home loan specialist by calling on +356 2131 2020, or sending an email to info@bov.com 

 

Offers are valid until 31st December 2020 but may close earlier at Bank’s discretion. All loans are subject to normal bank lending criteria, credit approval by the Bank and a credit agreement.  Security may be requested including mortgage or other comparable security.  The loan is to be secured by a first ranking hypothec and special privilege over the property being financed, a first ranking pledge over a life assurance policy covering the whole loan amount and a buildings insurance policy for the replacement cost of the property being financed. If repayments are not maintained, the bank may take steps to sell the property financed following legal proceedings and the borrower may lose the property. Further terms and conditions are available from www.bov.com. Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c., 58, Triq San Żakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130.  Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta).

 

AIP – Update for NON-EU Nationals

 

NON-EU NATIONALS CAN NOW APPLY FOR LONG-TERM RESIDENT STATUS IN MALTA AND WILL NO LONGER REQUIRE AN AIP.

Third-Country Nationals (NON-EU citizens) who have been legally and continuously residing in Malta for five years may apply for the long-term residence status. The status of long-term residents is permanent and the residence permit would be issued for a period of five years.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN RELATION TO PROPERTY PURCHASE?

Once an applicant is given Long-term residence status, the successful applicant will no longer require an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable property) in order to purchase a property. Moreover, there will no longer be restrictions as to owning only one property as was previously the case.

Successful applicants can now benefit from all the Government concessions which an EU member can benefit from in relation to reductions in stamp duty as well as property tax.

The applicant must submit the following documentary evidence in support of his request: Please click here to see required documentation.

Click here to learn more about AIP.

For more information, feel free to contact Steven Borg on +356 7909 5828 or email steve@belair.com.mt

 

NEW IMMOVABLE PROPERTY FISCAL MEASURES ( COVID-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY PACKAGE )

 

New Immovable Property fiscal measures – June 2020

 

The government announced temporary fiscal incentives for both property buyers and sellers, as part of a COVID-19 economic recovery package. This is effective as of 9th June 2020 until 1st April 2021:

 

Vendors:

All final deeds signed during this period, whereby 8% or 10% final withholding tax was previously applicable, are now being reduced to 5% on the first €400,000 in value. (Legal notice 241/2020)

 

Purchasers:

All finals deeds signed during this period, whereby a 5% stamp duty rate was previously applicable, are now being reduced to 1.5% on the first €400,000 in value. Schemes that are currently in existence, such as First Time Buyers and Urban Conservation Areas (UCA), can be used in conjunction with this rate of stamp duty. (Legal notice 240/2020)

 

These new measures apply to transfers of immovable property made on or after the 9th June 2020, but before 1st April 2021. These transfers will qualify for the reduced rates if the notice of the final deed of transfer is given to the Commissioner of Inland revenue by the 30th April 2021.

 

For more information, feel free to contact us.

PORTOMASO – LIFESTYLE LIVING… AS GOOD AS IT GETS !

Written by Darryn Portelli.

 

Portomaso is by far the most sought-after location for residential, business and leisure developments on the island. Located in the heart of St Julians on the east coast of the Mediterranean, the area was conceived and developed by one of Malta’s leading developers and has since won a string of accolades since its completion in 1999, most notably the Best Marina Development and also Best Luxury Development amongst others.

 

 

Portomaso’s 420 apartments are some of the most luxurious homes in Malta and these include apartments ranging from circa 50sqm to circa 300sqm across the various blocks overlooking the marina and open sea, as well as others on the back of the project, overlooking the gardens or service road. These include exceptionally spacious duplex apartments with sea views and garden terraces, magnificent  penthouses with private pools offering high-quality finishes and the breath-taking views of the marina and the open sea. The Portomaso development is ever popular with local buyers, as well as foreign investors and has proven to be among the most exceptional investment opportunity in Malta’s property market.

This iconic development strikes a perfect balance between tranquil leisure and exciting city life becoming a unique destination in Malta, home to some of the most important leisure and catering outlets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am lucky to have been personally involved in this project from the beginning, when at the time I helped run the sales office on site and was responsible for the sales and marketing of the project. Throughout the years, I ended up dealing with top business executives, as well as families from all over the world, who decided to settle down at Portomaso – a base from which they work and play  and when I occasionally bump into some of these people, the feedback I get from them (in many cases) is still as positive as it was back in the day.

Home to one of the most exclusive hotels in Malta – the Hilton – together with the Business Tower, which welcomes top operators in the gaming and financial services sectors, amongst others. Portomaso also houses one of the leading Yacht Marinas in the Mediterranean, a Casino, as well as ‘Club 22’, one of Malta’s most fashionable nightspots, enjoying exceptional 360 degree views from the 22nd floor of the Portomaso Business Tower!

Those who have chosen Portomaso as their home, including the many local clients that would have sold their villas to move into this magnificent development, have all commented on how comfortable and peaceful living in Portomaso actually is. With everything at your finger-tips, a supermarket that can deliver to your door or even push your own trolley from the supermarket to your apartment, being close to everything you need without having to commute anywhere is priceless.

The development is also very well kept, with maintenance and cleanliness being a top priority. Landscaping is also a big part of this and having a five star hotel on site makes sure everything is kept in tip top condition, whereas another important aspect, being security, is present on site 24/7, ensuring residents’ peace of mind at all times.

 

 

Last but not least, having the five star Hilton Hotel on site, is definitely a huge advantage, whereby residents can use the facilities of the hotel be it the indoor pool, gym, spa and mostly during the summer the residents also have exclusive access to their own beach club – The Merkanti.

 

 

 

To conclude, 15 years later, I still honestly feel that this project has managed to fulfil the aspirations of the world‘s most discerning seekers of property, as well as the yachting community, who can enjoy the pleasure, comfort and convenience of stepping out of their homes and straight onto their boats.

Portomaso ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort, style, secure investment as also a prestigious address, as when it comes to property it is always about location, location, location…….

 

The Boardroom: Two months on since COVID hit Malta, how has the real estate sector been impacted?

What’s Property like in Malta at the moment?

How are Malta’s leading realtors expecting the immediate future to pan out? 🤔

BELAIR Property’s Ian Casolani and RE/MAX Malta’s Kevin Buttigeg explore the changes felt by the real estate sector since the start of the pandemic

 

Stay tuned here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/WhosWho.mt/posts/

 

 

RENTALS – Maltese families are looking for villas & penthouses for the summer

Rentals find a new market: locals looking for luxury

A new trend in the rentals market is seeing locals looking to move into luxury villas with pools for the summer with space being more sought after in this period of self-isolation.

Estate agents have confirmed the rise in rental requests for houses with gardens, or penthouses with large terraces and views, from Maltese families who are not their typical clients.

The pandemic has had an impact on the “appreciation” of the outdoors in homes and the importance of quality family time, they say.

Resigned to the idea that they will not be taking their usual family holidays overseas, and hotels will not be opening any time soon, some locals are happy to spend a monthly €4,000 to €6,000 on a house with a pool over the summer, says Belair Property managing director Ian Casolani. He has noted this trend from the start of the outbreak.

Owners of short-let properties, who have been renting at good daily rates, have found themselves in dire straits since their business was wiped out with the closure of the airport.

But their woes can be slightly mitigated by the new shift to Maltese and expat tenants as they turn their properties into long-let rentals, Casolani says.

A property in Gozo that is on the market.
A property in Gozo that is on the market.

 

Meanwhile, owners of long-let properties are also considering renting to Maltese for a few months instead of a year if they are struggling to find a tenant.

Perry Estate Agents is also facing the “phenomenon” that arose from partial lockdown. Its managing director, Robert Spiteri Paris, has seen a healthy demand for more “space”, based also on the assumption of more competitive prices due to the flood of properties from the short-let category, which is also made up of quality homes.

Landlords have been more flexible with prices because of this increase in supply, Spiteri Paris points out, resulting in more choice and better rates on the long-let market. The uncertainty of going back into lockdown has meant villas are being rented to Maltese for four months up to a year, and the agency has also convinced a few owners to instead rent properties for sale to the post-lockdown market.

“We have experienced a huge influx onto our database of new properties we did not even know about. Owners do not want to leave them idle even though it would mean earning half what they would from short lets,” he says.

Even long-let properties have gone to Maltese families, who generally hate spending money on rent but want to treat themselves, Spiteri Paris notes. They are now opting for the top villas that foreign CEOs would normally rent.

Meanwhile, expats living in, for example, a Tower Road seafront apartment have also asked for a pool, and couples have joined up to rent a villa together for a change of scene and to take a breather.

Gozo is also on the radar and could make up for the shortfall from tourists through the local market. With the ban on visiting the island recently lifted, it is the only destination to travel to and “cut off”, particularly for working parents who can commute while their children enjoy the outdoors.

Frank Salt Real Estate director Grahame Salt is also witnessing a staycation trend and a rise in Gozo holidays in converted farmhouses with pools, from short breaks to three-month stays for the summer.

A large pool and deck at this Lija villa.
A large pool and deck at this Lija villa.

“Mostly families with kids, stuck inside an apartment, are likely to go mad in the summer heat, and if they can afford it, they are looking at this option,” says Salt.

“People are simply appreciating home because they are spending so much more time there. Until recently, they would just eat, sleep and leave. Now they have understood the importance of having a nice house.”

The new sales pitch when showing a property is whether you can see yourself doing quarantine in it, he jokes.

You can find the article here: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/rentals-find-a-new-market-locals-looking-for-luxury.792146

FIRST TIME BUYERS: THINGS TO DO AND CONSIDER

 

“Being in the pool of first time buyers is one of life’s experiences which you’re unlikely to forget quickly. It’s an important and long-term decision that will affect your future.  Whatever the reason for purchase, you should be aware of what is in store for you before making any commitment.” – Steven Borg, Head of Sales

 

In a nutshell:

  1. Commitment needed.
  2. Find the best bank for the best home loan to your budget.
  3. Find the right agent, find the right property. 
  4. Find the right Notary to seal the deal. 
  5. 5% Stamp Duty.
  6. Move into your new home.

 

COMMITMENT

As first time buyers, in many cases, you’ll be entering into a long financial commitment which may affect your future lifestyle choices, together with any long term career plans, so it’s imperative that you first understand this and are prepared for what lies ahead. Ensuring your mid to long term career, allows you to make this important decision with more confidence. If you’re partnering up to purchase a property, it’s also important to ensure that both of you are on the same commitment page and that any worst case scenarios are discussed in the case of default or life changing events.

 

WHAT CAN YOU AFFORD

Mortgages are a common facility that most first time buyers need. There are a few leading banks who offer varying interest rates and fees. Enquiring with a few leading banks to see which offers the best deal should be one of your first steps. As you would with any major purchase, it’s imperative that you determine what your realistic budget is before you begin looking for your property. It would be disheartening to fall in love with a property only to find out down the road , that it is way outside your achievable budget. It will become a disappointing search and possibly set an imaginary standard that will potentially derail your expectations and ultimately make your search an unpleasant and frustrating one .

 

PROPERTY SEARCH

Searching for the Ideal Property does not have to be a  stressful or tedious venture and professional assistance from a trusted estate agent will be key.  It’s important to utilise the services of an agent you feel comfortable with and trust.  There are many properties available , and your agent should explain the differences between what’s on the market.  Location, apartment versus house, it’s size, current condition and ‘added value’ are essential components to be discussed and evaluated. Once properly informed, deciding on your ideal property should come naturally.

‘Hard sell’ sales techniques should be avoided at all costs, as this may  lead you down a slippery slope of decision making which could be regrettable and not easily reversible without loss of investment. Developing a trusting relationship with your agent is in your best interests, as this will be more financially beneficial and give you peace of mind that your agent is not working solely for their own short-term financial gain.

Establishing and shortlisting property preferences is a task that is best tackled with an organisation that will allow you (and your partner) to discuss and assess each potential choice, ultimately helping you make informed decisions and comparisons that could also serve for future negotiation when the time comes to conclude.  

Your estate agent (intermediary) is the ideal person to place an offer. Usually the agent will have the knowledge of what an owner will or will not accept, and if negotiation is impossible, your agent will be trained to obtain such information that will guide you to the best possible terms. Owner/sellers generally vary in the way they like to be approached. Some prefer face to face interaction with the purchaser, whilst others prefer discussions to be conducted through the agent. This is the most crucial part of securing the best possible deal. Reputable agencies have trained agents who are always backed by management with years of experience in the field, thus will be instrumental in finding a ‘win win’ outcome for both parties.

 

SECURING THE DEAL

Once you have decided and agreed on the price and terms and conditions, the services of a Notary Public is called upon to draw up a promise of sale agreement (POSA). The Notary is entrusted with ordering and vetting searches to ensure that you are obtaining the property with a clean title and free of any debt and encumbrances. The notary is often appointed by and paid for by the purchaser. Fees in relation to these services can be determined prior to the drawing up of the POSA. (Link to: Notary Bill Calculator).

The Notary will also assume the task of liaising with banks and providing the relative legal safeguards for the involved parties, whether there are any current loans on the property being purchased, as well as any  bank loan required to purchase the property. It’s important that all parties are clear on the terms and conditions set out in the POSA, as this is legally binding on both parties. It is also imperative to raise any points that you may not be sure of with your agent and/or notary wherever necessary. Currently, the Government of Malta has extended the law which covers first time buyers NOT to pay any Stamp Duty on the first €175,000. If the property costs more than €175,000, then 5% on the balance would be payable as stamp duty on contract.

Architects should be appointed by the purchaser to confirm that the property has been constructed in line with building regulations and  Planning Authority permits have been approved. Architects are also required to fill in Land Registry Site Plans (where applicable) and complete the necessary ‘Schedule 8’ form. It’s important to note that notaries will not be held responsible for any building irregularities and you should ensure that all is in order prior to signing the final contract.

Fun Fact: 100% of first time buyers have a median age of 32 when it comes to purchasing a Home.

 

Should you require more information on any of the above, Belair Property agents are available to provide professional advice.

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